Ministry Proceeding With Regulatory Authority

January 24, 2013

Minister of Economic Development Dr. Grant Gibbon announced today [Jan 24] that Government is proceeding with the launch of the new Regulatory Authority [RA] that will be responsible for telecommunications regulation in Bermuda from January 28th 2013.

Dr. Gibbons said: “Opening Bermuda’s telecommunications sector to greater competition under a modern regulatory framework is of vital importance to consumers, businesses and the growth of our economy. The reforms that are underway are designed to bring new products and innovative services at competitive prices to Bermuda. We believe it will also result in new investment and job creation.”

“In essence, the Regulatory Authority will be the entity that will assume all regulatory responsibilities for the industry which will allow the Department of Telecommunications to concentrate its focus on telecommunications policy,” said Dr. Gibbons.

“This will bring the regulation into a politically neutral and independent body and we will have a modern regulator to keep pace with the speed of technological advancement.”

A statement from the Ministry said: “The new Regulatory Authority, which has taken more than five years to bring to fruition, is based on two pieces of legislation, the Electronic Communications Act 2011 [ECA] and the Regulatory Authority Act 2011 [RAA] that were passed in the House of Assembly in 2011.

“These Acts will now be brought into further effect by regulations Gazetted on January 25th 2013 and will mark the beginning of another stage in the deregulation of the telecommunications sector that began in June 1995 with the introduction of competition in the Bermuda market.

“The Regulatory Authority Act will allow for an independent regulator to regulate multiple sectors of the telecommunications industry, while the Electronic Communications Act will introduce a new type of telecommunications license.

“Existing legislation in place prior to the introduction of the 2011 Acts restricted telecommunications licensees from offering multiple telecommunications services on a single service platform. This practice is restrictive to Bermuda’s development as the international telecommunications industry develops.

“The reforms passed into law in 2011 had two major components, the separation of policy making from implementation and enforcement, and the removal of a segmented and outdated licensing structure which allowed carriers and operators to provide only the telecommunications service [mobile phones, internet, long distance, etc.] for which they were specifically licensed to provide.

“Eliminating separate classes for licensing will create a single standard license, called the Integrated Communications Operator License [ICOL] allowing holders to offer a range of telecommunications services under one company and from a single or multiple platforms.

“The intention, over the first full fiscal year, is that the fee burden to the industry will be cost neutral. This simply means that the fees the industry should have been paying all along to the Government will continue to be paid and, in the first year of the RA, these fees will be split between the Government and the RA. Over time the RA will become fully self-sufficient.”

Mr. John C. Cunningham, Mr. Carlyle Musson and Mr. D. Kent Stewart will serve as the three Commissioners of the RA. The commissioners will appoint Mr. Philip Micallef as Chief Executive when they hold their first meeting. This meeting is slated to be on Monday, January 28th.

Dr. Gibbons said it was “imperative to get the RA up and running as soon as possible to end the long period of uncertainty surrounding telecommunications reform.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. windwater says:

    That’s a power move! When the telecommunications industry is “deregulated”, lets just hope some companies don’t merge and make specific jobs redundant adding to our economic downturn.

    • swing voter says:

      Let’s jus hope that Gibbons and Charlton and anyone else that has telecom connections don’t get involved in the process.

    • bigcat says:

      Most providers such as Transact and Link already have their help desks in Canada!!!!!!

      • swing voter says:

        LOL @ bigcat… Canadians help desk with Bermudian accents?

  2. Argosy says:

    Great move. Next, let’s have a Public Transportation Authority in place of the ineffective and useless DPT and its Board!

  3. navin johnson says:

    now let’s get the legislation to really allow competition and better products…..its only been talked about for 5 years……stop the lock step approach and allow free market competition…….one provider should be able to offer all products ……

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Smh, Gibbons, why can’t you give credit where it s due. All the progress and work that you speak about, including the appointments, we’re made under Marc Bean and Dr. binns. All you are doing is repeating what is known in the public, and trying to act like you had some involvement in it. Start being honest Minister, and yes, as others have said, be careful as we know this cash cow industry is very attractive to your family business. Good work PLP, and Marc Bean!

    • We the people says:

      Your own bias is showing. Nowhere in the statement does the Minister claim ownership of this project. His announcement is pretty straightforward and indicates that this has been ongoing for five years. It probably should not have taken so long, but this Minister has a way of moving things forward and getting them done. And Bermudians will benefit.

    • David Henry says:

      @Concerned Citizen. Yes, let’s give credit where it is due. We’ll be happy to give you credit once you learn the difference between talk and action.

  5. navin johnson says:

    Marc Bean was the Minister for a very short time and in October talked about having something ready in the spring……The PLP spoke about it for 5 years and did nothing……give them credit for talking about and nothing more…..same with Gibbons until something is done it’s just talk…..

    • We the people says:

      Sounds to me like it’s done. The regs were gazetted today and their first meeting is on the 28th.

  6. Verbal Kint says:

    So how is this going to affect the legal action involving the telecoms, which was back in court last week?